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Ricciardo: Not worth taking new Renault engine updates

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Daniel Ricciardo does not believe it is worth Red Bull using the updated Renault power unit for this weekend’s United States Grand Prix unless it provides a massive pace increase.

Red Bull has struggled throughout 2015 thanks to the deficiencies of its Renault power unit, leading to a turbulent on-again-off-again saga between the two parties heading into 2016.

As things stand, Red Bull is yet to formally cut ties with Renault despite expressing a strong desire to do so earlier this year, knowing that the French manufacturer could in fact be the only option for an engine supply.

Ahead of this weekend’s United States Grand Prix in Austin, Texas, Renault is understood to have spent the majority of its remaining development tokens in a bid to improve its power unit for the final four races of the season.

However, Ricciardo revealed in Thursday’s FIA press conference that it was unlikely Red Bull would take the updates, believing any possible gain to be countered by the grid penalty that would need to be served.

“It’s available if we want to use it,” Ricciardo confirmed. “Obviously that would mean a penalty, though, so we’ve got to understand if it’s worth it.

“Last I heard, it’s not massive so from my understanding it’s probably not worth taking it.

“I think we’re down such a chunk that I don’t think we’re going to gain enough in this short time to make it up so if we start from the back, I don’t think we’re going to make [up] the ground we need.

“Right now, I would say we’re probably less likely to take it. That’s about it. Hopefully today they tell me something different and we’ve found a bigger chunk of horsepower from it but I think realistically there’s not a whole lot.”

Helio Castroneves ‘hustling’ for IndyCar, IMSA rides; talking with four to five teams

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As his season gathers steam, Helio Castroneves said his prospects for finding new rides for 2021 in IMSA and IndyCar also are gaining momentum.

The three-time Indianapolis 500 winner said Monday he is optimistic about landing in either or perhaps a combination of both series when Team Penske and Acura end their DPi partnership after this season.

“A lot of people I spoke with, four to five teams, are interested,” Castroneves said. “Whether it’s doing Indy 500 only, whether it’s pushing to do full time or do the sports cars as well. It’s been a very nice conversation.

LOOKING AHEADTeam Penske drivers seeking new rides for 2021

“I have a lot of respect for all the teams that have been talking, and I feel the same feedback. We just have to wait for their (sponsor) connections, and I’m also looking for some connections on my side as well, so hopefully we’ll be able to put this together and get something very soon.”

Given two decades of success with Penske in IndyCar and IMSA, Castroneves’ resume hardly needs burnishing. But the Brazilian has combined with co-driver Ricky Taylor in the No. 7 Acura DPi to win the past two overall victories at Road America and Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.

But Castroneves, who doesn’t have a manager, said he has been working the phones hard rather than wait for the strong results to bring in the calls.

“At this point, I feel like I’m the one who needs to be talking to them because people need to know I want to continue racing and understand my desire,” Castroneves, 45, said. “There is opportunity, no question, in both (IndyCar and IMSA), which I’m really happy about it. However, because of the COVID-19, a lot of things sometimes have to be a little delayed. But I’m excited. Whatever the opportunity and whatever destiny guides me, whether IndyCar or sports cars, trust me I’ll be as happy as it could be and doing my 100 percent like I always did.

“It’s like politics, you need to be out there, good news or bad news. People have to make notice of your presence. I’m hustling. I want to continue to keep it going. Hopefully, we’ll have good news very soon.”

The news has been all good lately on track for Castroneves and Taylor, who hope to continue their run Sunday at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

The No. 6 duo has surged to sixth in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship standings, 10 points out of the lead with four races remaining. After thinking there was “no hope” to be competitive after opening the season with three consecutive poor finishes, Taylor now sees an opportunity for a happy ending.

“With the program going away, Helio has won all the big races and given so much back to the team and left such a mark, he’s really part of Penske history,” Taylor said. “For me, it’s been an opportunity of a lifetime to be a part of it. I’d like to leave my little mark as well. Helio has won everything except for a championship.

“Obviously, we’ve won races already together, but we can win a championship now. I think if both of us can do that together and both win our first championship for ‘The Captain,’ that would be an absolute dream come true, and we can tie a bow on it and be happy.”